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Thread: North Korean Pushback Undercuts U.S. Exuberance Over Kim Meeting

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005

    North Korean Pushback Undercuts U.S. Exuberance Over Kim Meeting

    North Korean Pushback Undercuts U.S. Exuberance Over Kim Meeting

    By Nick Wadhams
    May 19, 2018, 12:00 AM EDT

    ‘Rosy outcome’ for June 12 summit was never likely: analyst
    Trump reversed Bolton over plans for ‘Libya Model’ approach

    The dizzying pace of North Korean-U.S. diplomacy this year had President Donald Trump fielding questions about whether he might win the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Now, North Korea has threatened to scrap Trump’s June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un, bringing lofty expectations about what may be achieved at the summit down to Earth. Like Trump’s predecessors, this White House is getting a reality check on the pitfalls of negotiating with the isolated and mercurial regime in Pyongyang.

    Ahead of next month’s summit in Singapore, which the White House insists is going forward, skepticism has replaced the confidence that North Korea is ready to reverse decades of intransigence and give up its nuclear weapons for good.

    “That rosy outcome was very unlikely to come to fruition,” said Melissa Hanham, a senior researcher at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. “I never put in a lot of stock in the U.S.-North Korea summit because the U.S. and North Korea have never had a successful negotiation that ended up in preventing nuclear weapons.”

    Up until this week, some administration officials were all but declaring success in their bid to use heightened United Nations sanctions and diplomatic isolation to get North Korea to commit to “complete denuclearization,” without acknowledging that Pyongyang’s definition of the term might be different than Washington’s.

    To bolster their optimism, the American officials cited moves North Korea made without much prompting: a promise to freeze nuclear and missile tests, the announcement of plans to destroy a nuclear test site and the decision to release three American prisoners when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited.

    With the momentum appearing to build, Pompeo extolled the possible economic benefits North Korea might receive from the U.S. once it gave up its weapons.

    “I think he appreciates the fact that this is going to have to be different and big and special, and something that has never been undertaken before,” Pompeo said of Kim when he spoke to Fox New Sunday. “Our eyes are wide open with respect to the risks. But it is our fervent hope that Chairman Kim wants to make a strategic change.”

    But U.S. hopes began to darken after North Korea issued statements this week withdrawing from a planned meeting with South Korean leaders and threatening to scrap the summit with Trump. North Korean officials also lambasted National Security Adviser John Bolton, who had gone on television Sunday to praise the “Libya model” of arms control, under which the late dictator Moammar Qaddafi surrendered his nuclear program in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions.

    Two years later, Qaddafi was overthrown by rebels who hunted down and killed him in the streets, providing an alternative definition of the “Libya model” that Kim would rather not be associated with.

    In a bid to keep plans for the summit on track, Trump on Thursday contradicted Bolton, saying his administration isn’t using Libya as a example for North Korea “at all” and that the U.S. would probably need to provide assurances to the regime to get a grand bargain.

    Under such an accord, Trump said of Kim, “He’d be there, be in his country, he’d be running his country. His country would be very rich.”

    Conflicting Messages

    North Korea also reacted vehemently against Pompeo’s suggestion that North Korea would be eager for U.S. trade and infrastructure investment that would flow if North Korea gave up its nuclear weapons. What the regime probably wants, analysts say, is just an easing of UN sanctions so that it can conduct whatever business it wants.

    “The U.S. is trumpeting as if it would offer economic compensation and benefit in case we abandon nukes,” North Korea’s official news agency, KCNA, said. “But we have never had any expectation of U.S. support in carrying out our economic construction and will not at all make such a deal in future, either.”

    The back-and-forth on the U.S. messaging underscored new skepticism and confusion about the administration’s strategy, and what exactly it wants out of the meeting.

    “It’s not clear, what is the purpose of the summit, I’m really wondering,” said Srinivasan Sitaraman, a professor of political science at Clark University. “What are the North Koreans willing to give up, what are the compromises the U.S. is willing to make? They are at opposite extremes. I really don’t see where they can come to an agreement.”

    ‘Big Down Payment’

    U.S. officials say their goal remains clear, using an acronym that has quickly entered the Washington lexicon: CVID, or “complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization.” Susan Thornton, the acting assistant secretary for East Asia and the Pacific, spelled out that approach to Kim during a Wall Street Journal event in Tokyo on May 15.

    “There’s an expectation as he’s already committed to complete denuclearization and in his conversations with the South Koreans that there will be a big down payment, a big upfront demonstration of his intention, to do that,” Thornton said. “Not just words and statements but also actions.”

    Whether North Korea is willing to go that far remains an open question -- but many observers think not, and there lies the danger for Trump. He needs to be able to show something concrete from the summit, while for Kim, just having the meeting will be a victory, according to said Daniel Russel, former assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, who’s now vice president at the Asia Society Policy Institute.

    North Korean Legitimacy

    North Korean leaders have for years sought a meeting with a U.S. president for the legitimacy it would confer on a regime that has been isolated and scorned by the international community. Kim is on the cusp of making that a reality.

    Trump was warned of the dichotomy in U.S. and North Korean interests by some of his top advisers in the past, who had cautioned the president against meeting Kim without a concrete set of objectives in hand. Several of those advisers, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, were later dismissed.

    “One of the two leaders is going into this meeting with a very well developed plan, is bringing a sophisticated understanding of the issues, the background, the history and the baggage,” said Russel, the former State Department official. “Unfortunately that isn’t the president of the United States. It’s Kim Jong Un.’
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Why would a person like Daniel Russel, a former employee of the US Department of State, be flattering the leader of North Korea at the expense of the President of the United States and the prospect for denuclearization and a peace treaty?

    jtdc likes this.
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  3. #3
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    "Can't never could!" I love these "educated people" citing history showing that past Presidents have never won against NK. What history they ignore is that past Presidents aren't like President Trump.

    Most of this country's greatest inventions came from relatively uneducated people. Engineering school teaches what has be tried, and what hasn't worked. So the lesson is "don't bother trying it." But those who didn't go to engineering school don't know it can't be done, so they create it! It's the bold who make progress sailing uncharted waters to find new places and new ways to get there.

    Obviously we don't know how the meeting will go. That is why we have the meeting. But these bozos, so afraid of failure, would never take a chance.

  4. #4
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    I think it is, maybe, "wedding jitters".
    Beezer likes this.

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